The best place to be in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, a sheltered bay strung with more than 140 subtropical islands, is out on the water. From dolphin and whale-watching expeditions to sightseeing boat tours that follow scenic routes through the bay, here are just a few of your cruising options in the Bay of Islands.
A half-day cruise in the Bay of Islands might take a form of a catamaran sail through the famous Hole in the Rock, a natural archway carved into the cliffs of Motukokako Island, followed by a stop at Urupukapuka Island, the largest in the archipelago, where you can go birdwatching, swimming, or trekking. Some half-day cruises incorporate Maori cultural experiences where you can learn about Maori crafts and culture. Passengers also have the the chance to spot the marine wildlife species that live in the bay, from penguins and seals to dolphins and whales.
During full-day cruises around the Bay of Islands, you can expect to cover more ground, see more wildlife, reach more secluded parts of the bay, and have additional time for extra activities. Many full-day cruises include stopovers at two remote islands or sheltered coves, where passengers can kayak, swim, sunbathe, paddleboard, hike, or snorkel. Most full-day cruises incorporate a meal either on board or at one of the islands.